India Slips by 10 Ranks in Global Democracy Index, Lowest Since 2006

The report took note of the reading down of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act across the nation.

New Delhi: India has suffered a major downgrade in the 2019 Democracy Index where it has slipped by 10 ranks to the 51st position.

On a scale if 0-10, India’s overall score dropped from 7.23 to 6.9, in the year 2018-2019, its lowest since 2006.

India was graded 8.67 in electoral process and pluralism, 6.79 in government functioning, 6.67 in political participation, 5.63 in political culture and 6.76 in civil liberties.

The primary cause of the “democratic regression” is attributed to “an erosion of civil liberties in the country”.

The report titled A year of democratic setbacks and popular protest, done by the intelligence unit of The Economist Group, analysed how democracy fared in 165 independent states and two territories.

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It talked about the manner in which the Modi government read down Article 370. “The government deployed a large number of troops in J&K, imposed various other security measures and placed local leaders under house arrest, including those with pro-India credentials, before repealing the articles,” mentions the report.

The report also highlighted the protests in India against the Citizenship Amendment Act. “The new citizenship law has enraged the large Muslim population, stoked communal tensions and generated large protests in major cities,” the report reads.

The Index categorised India under “flawed democracies” which is defined as countries that hold free and fair elections and where basic civil liberties are respected, but have significantly weak governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation.

“Almost one-half (48.4%) of the world’s population live in a democracy of some sort, although only 5.7% reside in a “full democracy”, down from 8.9% in 2015 as a result of the US being demoted from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy” in 2016,” says the report.

The average global score also fell from 5.48 in 2018 to 5.44, driven by a “sharp regression in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, a lesser one in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and by stagnation in the remaining regions.”

In the Asia and Australasia region, India ranked behind Taiwan and Timor-Leste.

Among others, Thailand registered highest improvement in its score which is attributed to the elections held in March 2019, first time after the military coup d’état in May 2014.

On the other hand, China’s score miserably declined owing to intensified discrimination against minorities and digital surveillance of its population.